Which Virtual PC should I buy?

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by raynegus, Mar 18, 2004.

  1. raynegus macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2003
    #1
    I know next to nothing about PCs. I've used a Mac all my life going all the way back to the 128K (which I wish I never sold).

    Now I need to run a medical program that is PC only. How can I do this with the least pain on my Mac? I don't know much about the Virtual PC products but I think that might be an alternative to going out and buying a new PC, even though they seem to be dirt cheap. So should I get the XP Home, XP Pro, or windows 2000 version?

    I'm not interested in dinking around too much in the windows environment. I just want to be able to launch the medical program and use it with the least amount of fuss. I could care less about the windows environment itself and just want something bare bones that will launch windows programs. Will Virtual PC do this?

    I have a 1.25 Ghz G4 iMac with 1 GB of RAM, 160 GB HD, 20" screen (the latest version).

    Also, do you have any tips for using the Virtual PC program? What should I look out for? Thank you.
     
  2. krisjon macrumors regular

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    Feb 29, 2004
    Location:
    San Diego, CA
    #2
    Virtual PC will work for you, but it tends to run pretty slow on Mac. If you dedicate a fair amount of RAM to it, performance will improve, but not by a lot. It'll get the job done though, unless this medical program you need to run is very processor intensive.

    As far as which one to get, I would go for Windows 2000 Professional. It's the most stable and best running of your current options. XP in almost any incarnation pretty much stinks.
     
  3. eclipse525 macrumors 6502a

    eclipse525

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    #3
    Well....Virtual PC is like(or IS) dinking around in Windows. It's painfully slow and would only use it if absolutely nesscessary. In fact, I would rather (And AM) buy a PC than use VPC. Again, it works and works well but it's way too slow. What's a amazing to me is that after all these years the improvements have been minimal. Just my 2 cents.


    ~e
     
  4. wordmunger macrumors 603

    wordmunger

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    #4
    Just get the cheapest one. Any one of them will run your program, unless your program REQUIRES XP (like iTunes does--but you have a Mac, right?). Whichever one is cheapest. I got VPC with Windows 98 last year, and it worked fine, but then I found a Mac program that does what I need, so now it just sits on the shelf gathering dust.
     
  5. yoda13 macrumors 65816

    yoda13

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    Sep 26, 2003
    Location:
    Texas
    #5
    While there is no doubt that Virtual PC is slow, it is quite usable, even on slower machines. I used to regularly run it on my iBook, and it was very SLOW, but it worked well, if you had patience. It should be considerably faster on your computer as it is much more powerful than mine was and I could use it. It is much cheaper than another computer as well. Just my two cents. I also would go with Windoze 2000. XP is very buggy and always needs patching, not the most fun if you aren't used to Windoze.
     
  6. Westside guy macrumors 601

    Westside guy

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    #6
    I haven't tried it with Win2000; just XP and 98SE. I dumped the XP virtual disk because it was significantly slower than with 98SE.

    Since it's sitting on your Mac, I don't think the security difference between the "consumer" Windows like 98 and the "business" Windows like NT/2000/XP is a big deal.

    Also it's worth remembering that you can buy it without any OS if you've already got a licensed version of Windows you can install yourself. It's not difficult (assuming you know how to install Windows on a real computer).
     
  7. Horrortaxi macrumors 68020

    Horrortaxi

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    #7
    Get the oldest version of Windows on which your software will run. Performance will get worse with every new release.
     
  8. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

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    Jan 9, 2004
    Location:
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    #8
    Also, I don't know how it works in emulation, but I would avoid Win98 LIKE THE PLAGUE. I liked Win95 much better -- every 98 computer I've seen has been flakey at least some of the time. Also Win95 is relatively fast on most PC hardware.

    I've been very impressed with Win2k at work. Until recently (almost two years of having it) my work laptop under Win2K has been very solid -- features like Hibernate and sync'ing remote disks work much better than I expected. Although, recently, going into and coming out of hibernate, and making sure disks are sync'd when I log in have been showing issues. So I guess all good things must come to an end. ;)

    And also, there seem to be conflicting reports on what version works / doesn't work with Panther. What I think I heard is that versions before 6.0 were not very Panther-friendly. But I don't have it -- I'm looking for a copy too. I want to run a couple of PC-specific statistics tools -- right now I use <R>, but a lot of people know AMOS which only runs on PC. :(

    On a slightly separate note, I notice there are a lot of people on eBay selling used copies of VPC, but a lot of them, in the details, talk about being a demo disk, and non-registerable, and they give you some upgrade disk with it, but it's actually an old version, and so on. And then the description has funny edits to words like hackers do -- "Micro$oft" and "dem0", like they're trying to avoid getting caught by a illegal-sales-'bot. Anyone know if these are reasonably legitimate?

    Or better yet, anyone have a copy they want to unload? :)
     
  9. eclipse525 macrumors 6502a

    eclipse525

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    #9
    Another thing to keep in mind is the actual software you're going to run on it. Some of the newer pieces of software won't run in older versions of Windows. It depends on your software's requirements.


    ~e
     
  10. GFLPraxis macrumors 604

    GFLPraxis

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    Mar 17, 2004
    #10
    Anything but XP

    Unless your program requires Windows XP (although almost anything that works with XP will work with 2000), go with 98 or in last case 2000. Don't get XP unless absolutely neccessary. XP is a total RAM and processor HOG. 98 runs good, though, and 2000 (though a bit slower) should run pretty well.
     
  11. Horrortaxi macrumors 68020

    Horrortaxi

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    #11
    I don't know about that. I used both and liked 98 much better. 98 was largely a bug fix for 95, which sucks if you already had 95, but it was more stable and added a valuable feature--USB support. It does use more resources than 95 but not so much you're really going to notice--even in emulation on a Mac.
     
  12. raynegus thread starter macrumors regular

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    Jul 5, 2003
    #12
    Thank you to everyone who responded. I love this forum.

    I should mention that I'm running 10.3.2. Does Virtual PC 6.1 work ok with Panther? What about versions before 6.1 with windoze 98.

    And is it true that even the latest Virtual PC won't work with a G5 (I don't have a G5 yet but might upgrade soon).
     
  13. Nermal Moderator

    Nermal

    Staff Member

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    #13
    Yes, that is true. Virtual PC will not work on a G5.
     
  14. Koodauw macrumors 68040

    Koodauw

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    Nov 17, 2003
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    #14
    Everyone says that Virtual PC is slow, but you have no idea untill you actually use it yourself. I seriously recemend trying if at all possible before you buy the software. I was amazed at how long it took to do the simpliest of tasks like opening the start menu. I would hate to try and use an actually program that was even semi-CPU intensive. I would not have the patience to use VPC, and would recemend picking up a cheap PC.
     
  15. MisterMe macrumors G4

    MisterMe

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    #15
    You can't run a cheap PC on an iBook, but you can run VPC.
     
  16. 7on macrumors 601

    7on

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  17. raynegus thread starter macrumors regular

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    Jul 5, 2003
    #17
    Well, just for comparison, how cheap a PC can I get? Can someone point me to a good place to buy one? Again, I know nothing about what to look for. I won't hook it to the web (got Safari & Mail for that). I just need to run windoze programs on it.

    The program I'll be running right now is a medical charting program that a friend of mine is writing. He wants me to play with it and see what I think and make suggestions for improving it. It's basically a database program. Not graphics intensive.
     
  18. solvs macrumors 603

    solvs

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    Jun 25, 2002
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    LaLaLand, CA
    #18
    Just so you know, iTunes runs in Win2000.

    Get it with 2000. Or the DOS version if you already have a copy of Windows. DO NOT get XP Home.
     
  19. blackfox macrumors 65816

    blackfox

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    Feb 18, 2003
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    PDX
    #19
    To go with the trend I also recommend 98SE and 2000 (in that order). 2000 is a little more stable than 98, but I have always liked the bare-bones simplicity of 98, and on an emulator, that helps. Also, to my knowledge, all programs for winME(which is crap) also work for 98, giving it a longer lease on life...I have VPC 5, it works ok enough not to upgrade (may 4 VPC 7)
     
  20. Jonnod III macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2004
    #20
    Actually, I found that NT works fast on VPC (4, 5 and 6). I have also used 95, 98, 2k, XP home and Xp pro...

    98 is the one that got MS into trouble, because they stuck IE right in the middle of the OS.

    There must be loads of unused old copies of Windows about. I've got about 5 copies of 95 here...

    The version for G5 requires a huge rewrite - as VPC used little-endian (or was it big-endian) which is not in the G5 chip. I suppose I equate it to writing a hook to a graphics hardware function for a game. My big worry is that when VPC7 comes out it will be slower as it will miss the endian bit...

    oh, and just beware - some programs don't run under VPC. Check your medical one out first if you can, before committing to VPC.
     
  21. eclipse525 macrumors 6502a

    eclipse525

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    USA, New York
    #21

    I would build one. It's actually not that hard.

    Here's a site that can get you started.

    http://www.tomshardware.com/


    ~e
     
  22. yamabushi macrumors 65816

    yamabushi

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2003
    #22
    I think your first suggestion should be to make the program usable across platforms. I have a friend who has written a great deal of medical software for hospitals such as the Mayo Clinic. Because of the great variety of systems used in hospitals and clinics cross platform compatibility was essential. Most of the software was created using Java and JavaScript. Of course thorough testing was done on the various operating systems before implementation in order to iron out a few bugs.
     
  23. cb911 macrumors 601

    cb911

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    Mar 12, 2002
    Location:
    BrisVegas, Australia
    #23
    read up on VPC a little bit. i know one of the updates enables you to drag and drop straight from VPC to the Finder. just make sure you get a version that supports that. or else it's a real pain to try and copy data form VPC to your Mac.

    also, isn't there VMware or something that could run PC apps like that? ScumVM was mentioned in the gaming forums here... but that was talking about using it with games. i don't know if anything like that is available for applications.
     

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